Open Forum

 View Only
  • 1.  Cleaning artifacts of Museum "Sticky"

    Posted 03-27-2023 05:49 PM



    We are working to update our permanent collection artifact displays, some of which have not been rotated out since the museum was opened in 2012. As I was checking the inventory and artifact labels, I discovered that some of the clear gel (wax? Putty?) used to hold the smaller archaeology objects in place has adhered itself to the artifacts and only the friction from my hands will release it. It also leaves behind an oily residue. To make matters worse, we have temperature, but not humidity control in the exhibit space.


    Unfortunately, I wasn't the one who planned the initial exhibit design, and we have very poor records from that time frame, so I have NO IDEA what was used.


    Any idea what it is and how I can clean the archaeology artifacts without damaging them anymore?


    Thanks for whatever ideas you have in advance!!


    Katy Lockard, CA

    Director, Archives & Records Management

    Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine

    11625 Old St. Augustine Road

    Jacksonville, FL 32258

    904-262-3200 x 120



  • 2.  RE: Cleaning artifacts of Museum "Sticky"

    Posted 03-28-2023 09:25 AM
    Hi, Katy - I am far from a chemist (or scientist of any kind) but may I suggest that you contact a nearby university chemistry department whose scholars may be willing and able to analyze the composition of the material?  That could lead you to a conservationally sound method for removing the residue.  Good Luck.  Vivian

  • 3.  RE: Cleaning artifacts of Museum "Sticky"

    Posted 03-28-2023 10:41 AM


    I am an Objects Conservator and my recommendation is that you consult a conservator rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning the objects.  While what was used may be the same for all objects, removal can be very different depending on the material type of the object.  If you do not have access to a conservator for consultation, then I would recommend going to the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) website and using their "Find a Professional" tool.  It will help you find an objects or archaeological conservator that can either consult or do the treatments.

    As luck would have it, the AIC conference will be in Jacksonville in May of this year at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.  There will be several hundred conservators.  You should be able to easily locate an objects or an archaeological conservator who might be willing to visit your museum for a consultation.

    If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Cynthia Blechl
    Objects Conservator
    Army Heritage Museum
    Carlisle Barracks PA